The United States intelligence community has concluded that Russian hackers led a cyberespionage and information-warfare campaign in an effort to influence the 2016 presidential election. In an interview with National Public Radio’s (NPR) Steve Inskeep that aired Friday on Morning Edition, President Obama said, “I think there is no doubt that when any foreign government tries to impact the integrity of our elections … we need to take action. And we will — at a time and place of our own choosing. Some of it may be explicit and publicized; some of it may not be.”
What are the options for retaliation when the US is faced with circumstances such as these? Our resources examine the foundational characteristics of cyberattacks and strategies for countering them.
Toward a Safer and More Secure Cyberspace
Given the growing importance of cyberspace to nearly all aspects of national life, a secure cyberspace is vitally important to the nation, but cyberspace is far from secure today. The United States faces the real risk that adversaries will exploit …
US Geological survey image showing the epicentre of the 6.9 magnitude earthquake south east of Fukushima
US Geological Survey
According to the Japan Meteorological Agency, the earthquake that struck Monday off Fukushima was an aftershock of the magnitude 9.0 quake that hit in 2011 and caused a deadly tsunami in the same area. Those events were responsible for more than 15,900 deaths and 2,600 missing persons as well as physical infrastructure damages exceeding $200 billion. The earthquake and tsunami also initiated a severe nuclear accident at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station. Three of the six reactors at the plant sustained severe core damage and released hydrogen and radioactive materials. The explosion of the released hydrogen damaged three reactor buildings and impeded onsite emergency response efforts. Five years later, the region is still recovering from the social and economic impacts of the accident.
The publications below address preparedness and response for crisis situations like the 2011 disaster. All are free to download.
Last Friday, a distributed denial-of-service attack on Dyn caused temporary outages at some of the Internet’s most heavily trafficked websites. Dyn is a major contributor to the Web’s infrastructure, working as a middleman to ensure users can connect to the websites they are looking for. Hackers used malware to overwhelm Dyn’s servers.
In a world of increasing dependence on information technology, the prevention of cyberattacks on a nation’s important computer and communications system and networks is essential. Our report At the Nexus of Cybersecurity and Public Policy offers a wealth of information on practical measures, technical and nontechnical challenges, and potential policy responses to cybersecurity issues. In its explanation of the fundamentals of cybersecurity and the discussion of potential policy responses, this book is a call for action to make cybersecurity a public safety priority.
Also check out our Cybersecurity Collection. These books explain the importance of increasing the usability of security technologies, recommend strategies for future research aimed at countering cyberattacks, and consider how information technology systems can be used to not only maximize protection against attacks, but also respond to threats.
Image captured by NASA’s Viking lander 1 in August 1976
It’s now been 40 years since NASA’s Viking probe 1 showed us our first view of Mars’ surface. We’re proud that our reports have contributed to the ongoing agenda for the exploration and search for life on Mars. Here’s a look back at how the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine have informed Mars exploration initiatives through the years.
An Astrobiology Strategy for the Exploration of Mars
Three recent developments have greatly increased interest in the search for life on Mars. The first is new information about the Martian environment including evidence of a watery past and the possibility of atmospheric methane. The second is the possibility of microbial viability on Mars. …
Review of the MEPAG Report on Mars Special Regions
Planetary protection is a guiding principle in the design of an interplanetary mission, aiming to prevent biological contamination of both the target celestial body and the Earth. The protection of high-priority science goals, the search for life and the understanding of the Martian organic …
Preventing the Forward Contamination of Mars
Recent spacecraft and robotic probes to Mars have yielded data that are changing our understanding significantly about the possibility of existing or past life on that planet. Coupled with advances in biology and life-detection techniques, these developments place increasing importance on the need …
Biology and the Exploration of Mars
Until recent years the origin of life and its possible occurrence elsewhere in the universe have been matters for speculation only. The rapid growth of molecular biology since 1940 has, to be sure, made it possible to discuss life’s origins in far more precise and explicit terms than was …
Assessment of Mars Science and Mission Priorities
Within the Office of Space Science of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) special importance is attached to exploration of the planet Mars, because it is the most like Earth of the planets in the solar system and the place where the first detection of extraterrestrial life …
Assessment of NASA’s Mars Architecture 2007-2016
The United States and the former Soviet Union have sent spacecraft to mars as early as 1966, with Mars’ exploration being priority for NASA spacecraft. Both sides, however, have failed as well as succeed. The inability to determine if life exists on Mars is considered one of NASA’s failures and …
Credit: Landsat 7 Science Team and NASA GSFC
Last year the world saw record-breaking temperatures and 2015 became the warmest year on record. Human activities largely determine the future evolution of the Earth’s climate, which not only impact the next few decades, but the coming centuries and millennia.
Climate change poses significant risks for a broad range of human and natural systems. Our reports inform many of the 21st century choices for responding to climate change through improving understanding of the causes and consequences.
A special 25% Earth Day discount applies through April 29, 2016. Use discount code EARTH when you order online.
Climate Change: Evidence and Causes
Climate Change: Evidence and Causes is a jointly produced publication of The US National Academy of Sciences and The Royal Society. Written by a UK-US team of leading climate scientists and reviewed by climate scientists and others, the …
Abrupt Impacts of Climate Change: Anticipating Surprises
Climate is changing, forced out of the range of the past million years by levels of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases not seen in the Earth’s atmosphere for a very, very long time. Lacking action by the world’s nations, it is clear that …
Climate Intervention: Reflecting Sunlight to Cool Earth
The growing problem of changing environmental conditions caused by climate destabilization is well recognized as one of the defining issues of our time. The root problem is greenhouse gas emissions, and the fundamental solution is curbing those …
There are approximately 4,000 fatalities in crashes involving trucks and buses in the United States each year. While many factors play a role in these crashes, estimates suggest that possibly 10 to 20 percent might have involved fatigued drivers. The stresses associated with their particular jobs (irregular schedules, etc.) and the lifestyle that many truck and bus drivers lead, puts them at substantial risk for insufficient sleep and for developing short- and long-term health problems.
Commercial Motor Vehicle Driver Fatigue, Long-Term Health and Highway Safety assesses the state of knowledge about the relationship of such factors as hours of driving, hours on duty, and periods of rest to the fatigue experienced by truck and bus drivers while driving and the implications for the safe operation of their vehicles. This report evaluates the relationship of these factors to drivers’ health over the longer term, and identifies improvements in data and research methods that can lead to better understanding in both areas.
(Aaron M. Sprecher/AFP/Getty Images)
Recent flooding in Louisiana and Texas call attention to the importance of our nation’s infrastructure established to manage our water resources and mitigate the effects of flooding. Advances in engineering can reduce the risk of levee and dam failure, but levees and dams cannot remove the risk of flooding. The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine Report, Dam and Levee Safety and Community Resilience: A Vision for Future Practice, explores how dam and levee safety programs might be broadened to consider community- and regional-level priorities in decision making to help reduce the risk of, and increase community resilience to, potential dam and levee failure. Collaboration between dam and levee safety professionals at all levels, persons and property owners at direct risk, and the social and environmental networks in a community would allow all stakeholders to better understand risks, shared needs, and opportunities, and would ultimately lead them to make more informed decisions to support community resilience.
Our Flood Resilience collection offers guidance for multiple sectors involved in community planning and the flood recovery process.
Source: New York Times – Toru Hanai/Reuters
On this day five years ago, the Great East Japan Earthquake and tsunami sparked a severe nuclear accident at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station. Three of the six reactors at the plant sustained severe core damage and released hydrogen and radioactive materials. Explosion of the released hydrogen damaged three reactor buildings and impeded onsite emergency response efforts. The accident prompted widespread evacuations of local populations, large economic losses, and the eventual shutdown of all nuclear power plants in Japan. It wasn’t until August 2015 that Japan began the controversial return to nuclear power generation.
Lessons Learned from the Fukushima Nuclear Accident for Improving Safety and Security of U.S. Nuclear Plants is a study of the Fukushima Daiichi accident. This report examines the causes of the crisis, the performance of safety systems at the plant, and the responses of its operators following the earthquake and tsunami.
Privacy is a growing concern in the United States and around the world. The vast reaches of the Internet and the seemingly infinite options for collecting, saving, sharing, and comparing information trigger legitimate apprehension. The recent FBI request of custom access to an iPhone used by one of the two terrorists who killed 14 people in San Bernardino brought the debate surrounding privacy vs. security to the forefront. Our reports examine the state of privacy in the information age and the policies that currently exist to protect personal user privacy.
On Thursday, the World Health Organization (WHO) announced the Zika virus was “spreading explosively” and estimated that as many as four million people could be infected by the end of the year. The WHO will be holding an emergency meeting on Monday to determine whether this outbreak should be declared an international health emergency. This decision would allow countless resources to be mobilized towards more effectively combating this global health crisis.
We’ve collected our resources that provide an overview of infectious diseases and address this growing global challenge. All are free to download.
Photo Source: CDC